Archive for the ‘Managing The Mother Lode’ Category

Hard wired deep in my soul, I have a fresh desire to begin each year with nothing on my plate. I want the clutter in every room to be sucked up in some imaginary vortex. Everything must have clean lines and surfaces. The fridge. The desk. The floor. The school schedule. The blog. The devotional. I want to simplify every iota.

I have become a machine. Nesting. Aiming high for my Tabula Rosa. Oiled by sheer will. Inspired by literally the presence of nothing. After looking under every bed and through every closet, I still can’t seem to find where I misplaced that magic vortex button. However, I find myself taking rest in the smallest of victories. A clean desktop on a computer. The holy trinity of hamper, washer, and dryer found empty. One step closer to the almost unobtainable goal of printing out five years of digital pictures. And reworking the blog at a feverish pitch during a 2AM attack of pregnancy insomnia.

I’m taking a deep breath in until it almost hurts and tickles all at once. Before exhaling and beginning the fresh blessing of a new year; before welcoming 10 more tiny toes over the threshold of life.


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Why? WHY? Why did I not fill out an absentee ballot this year for the election? (Banging head on laptop.) Our area has four days available for early voting, and only four precincts. The lines for early voting have been atrocious – anywhere from seven hour to two hour waits (if you’re lucky). Cars and bodies everywhere.

Both Tom Builder and I are dedicated and determined voters, so I knew it was bad when even Mr. Incredible turned right back around after attempting to vote on Monday. I thought things might be better off if I waited until today. So with all four kids in tow, I prayed for mercy and entered into the voting zone. It was a mad house. We never even made it out of the car. Questioning a lady who had clearly placed her vote, I was informed she had been waiting since 8:00 am. It was 11:00 am. Three hours was not going to cut it with lunch on the horizon. The line of people stretched out beyond the sea of cars. Beaten, I turned around too.

I don’t know if I should be elated at the voter participation or in fear of the task that looms ahead with four children in tow. Things are only predicted to get worse. The waits longer. I have visions of my family camping out all night in front of the voter precinct the night before election day, like some crazed teenagers trying to get tickets to their favorite band. I think this would be an excellent time to propose an HOV lane for voters with small children in tow. Can children really wait four hours in line without having to pee? For that matter can pregnant ladies???

Yes, Tom Builder and I could find a way to take turns sans children and vote. However, with what is being predicted for waits on election day, only one of us will probably have the opportunity to vote. Which is why early voting seemed like a golden ticket. However, I really wanted the older children to experience the voting booth again – they think it is exciting and interesting. And after hearing about an election for two whole years of their little lives, it is important for them to witness their parents finally getting to take part in the freedom to vote for the next President of the United States.

Here’s the problem, I wonder if after spending four to seven hours next to four children in the freezing cold voting line, I would turn every McCain voter to the left and right of me into an instant Obama supporter!

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It all started when the children had seen a window I left open on my computer. It was an image of the Melissa & Doug Magnetic responsibility chart. I ditched the idea when I saw the price and multiplied by two, but I left the window of the image open. The next day, I found my children inspired by the idea and working feverishly at making their own responsibility charts. They did an impressive job on their charts and also keeping up with their tasks and new chores all week. Which then inspired me to keep a good thing going.

Between the dawn of responsibility charts and recent questions on the logistics of allowance, I decided to revisit the whole idea. And that, my friends, is when I bumped into a fantastic online resource for keeping track of responsibilities called My Reward Board. This is great stuff moms! Think Webkinz meets To Do List.

The children are completely hooked using the online system and I am loving the creative genius that is behind this program. Right now we are trying their two week free trial, and Grace and Jack are racking in the points to then redeem at their online treasure chest for special privileges or items. Almost overnight, I have lost that nagging sound that seemed to always come out of my mouth each morning. I hated that sound.

It feels good to lose that, and get help around the house to boot. Check it out!

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I think that is one of my top five pet peeves. Everyday, somebody in this house has a shoe crisis, and moans (as we are already late out the door), “I can’t find my shoes.”

We have one shoe, but we can’t find a match. We wear our black dress shoes with a spring dress because we can’t find our light pair of dress shoes. We have our muddy crocs to go with our Sunday attire, but the one dress shoe we do have is too tight. Or worst of all we go the whole ride in the car there, and then announce that we don’t have our shoes – (see my Shoeless Joe Jack post).

We even have individualized bins for each member in the house to place our shoes back in when we come home. They are overflowing. But not with matches.

It is days like today, when I finally wash our shoes, and they come out looking spiffy new that I wonder why in the world it is we have a problem with shoes at all. Where did all of these shoes come from??? And why don’t I wash shoes more often? They look so nice without chicken poop!

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Faith has pneumonia. Enough said.

Every other word that comes to mind right now would not be suitable for big eyes or little eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised if at this very moment they are redirecting street signs for the Center for Disease Control straight to my house.

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I wasn’t even going to bring it up. Or if I did, it was going to be an after thought. Christmas was such a wonderful time with Tom Builder’s family. However, the events of today have me wanting to share the bad news first.

It started with Faith two months ago. Some of the bigger, scarier names you find tossed around…a nasty cold, followed by the disgusting Rotavirus, and over Christmas, the lovable Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. Makes your hair stand on end, doesn’t it? Entirely exhausting for my sweetie pie…


I was praying that my breastmilk would protect Hope from the germs that seemed to be clinging for dear life on to my little wafer, The Princess of Wails, who is now just a shadow of herself. But to no avail.

Today, I sped like the dickens to the doctor’s office with little Hope in tow gasping for air. She had contracted a bad cough two days earlier that sounded like her sister’s and after a very rough night and morning she was exhibiting some real signs of stress…vomiting, belly breathing, wheezing, coughing with every single breath. Down right scary for a two and a half month old to be going through.

I adore my children’s doctor, and I could tell after he listened to her chest he was sincerely concerned, and decided to test her for RSV. I hadn’t even thought of RSV. I was still reeling from Faith’s bizarre Hand Foot and Mouth Disease with all of the hand and foot blisters. Sheesh, the house was already under quarantine! But the mention of RSV had me praying that it would come back negative. I recalled somewhere in the back of my mind that RSV was one of those things that could go dangerous quickly, and it could even be fatal with complications. It was always one of those red flags I had filed in my head during all of the mega reading and research that comes along with your first child.

Unfortunately, Hope tested postive for RSV. RSV isn’t a big deal for everyone, but it can be a bad word for little babies under six months. It can be very hard on the little ones as the sickness usually lasts two weeks, with five especially tough days. The doctor said that today was probably the beginning of the tough going part.

With one breathing treatment under her belt to get us on the road, we checked out at the desk. A nurse who had befriended Hope in the waiting room checked us out and commented as she saw the word “Bronchiolitis” on the chart, “Awww..bless her heart…at least it wasn’t RSV”. She had missed the other notation, but quickly then noticed her mistake and apologized. A couple other nurses had crowded around Hope in sympathy, and despite everything she had been through in the last 48 hours, she managed to flash a few smiles. After all, she was the very last patient to be seen in the doctor’s office for 2007.  Poor girl couldn’t even get a sucker.

Thankfully, Tom Builder and I are relieved to see that her breathing treatments appear to be helping her along better. She can at least take a breath easier, without using each breath to cough.

So that’s the bad news. New Year’s Eve or not, we may have another late night in front of us. And a tough first week in 2008. Our sweet girl is wiped out and pale as a sheet. But at least she is sleeping more soundly for now.

But you count your blessings sometimes even harder in moments like these. This year, the Lord has showered us with unimaginable blessings. Hope was one of those beautiful unimaginables.


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I’m allowing myself five minutes to check in and remember what blogging is like. I try not to stress out over all of the missed days of online notetaking that are passing by. It happens at the end of every year in a giant crescendo. First the back to back birthdays, then Thanksgiving where family swings in town, the endless Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, the inevitable flus and sicknesses that begin to rack the family, and we can’t forget getting the school schedules and ordering taken care of before January.

Right now I am knee deep in Faithy poo goo. It is AWFUL, rancid, stomach churning stuff. Going on Day 5. Ugh. I feel so bad for her. She hasn’t been able to eat anything but milk for days. The first two days we dealt with the puke, now we’ve moved on to the poo goo. And even SHE can’t stand her own stench, letting me know immediately after her stomach explosions that she is ready to be so out of her diaper. I think we’re dealing with the lovely rotavirus. I really hope so, as that will hopefully mean that things won’t pass on to other members of the family.

We are also knee deep in something much more pleasant. EGGS. The chickens are performing wonderfully with a recent record high of six eggs in one day. Today we had a record high of egg losses…one Jack dropped, one Faith broke tapping two eggs together, and another Faith threw after I caught her discovering some eggs I thought I had hidden from her. Me Mom? Playing with eggs? What eggs…?? (quick toss)

Hope is doing so well. She is such a sweet spot in our lives. She coos and sings to anyone who smiles at her. And she is now, sleeping through the night.

Jack and Grace are loving the recent surge in air temperature and can be found outside with rubber boots, rakes and roaming chickens, as they have decided to create a miniature haven for wildlife.

Time is up…and I have chosen to revisit my pillow rather than take a much needed shower. Pillows always beat showers. I hope all of you out there are having a delightful December.

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